Letter to the Congregation 11 18 2020

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The Council met on 11/17/2020 to discuss the possibility of closing the church building in the same fashion it was closed back in March. We had incorrectly believed that the Governor of Pennsylvania would go back to the red, yellow, and green system. We discovered that we were incorrect, and that the state is expecting churches to use guidelines that have been published to make decisions for themselves based on their home county’s COVID-19 case levels.
The Council made the following decision: TO CLOSE THE CHURCH BUILDING FOR ALL ACTIVITIES: (The Nursery School’s last day will be November 19th and the last Worship and Scheduled Eucharist will be on November 22nd). The following are the basis for Council’s decision
• Northampton County COVID-19 cases are rising quickly
• The ELCA does not recommend that church buildings remain open if the county in which you are located has rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.
• While there is no direct statement from Northeastern Pennsylvania Synod, they point us to the advice offered by the ELCA
• The Bethlehem Diocese (Episcopal Church) has directed their churches to close by Advent 1
• The Penn Northeast Conference (UCC) have recommended that their church buildings close.
• There is every indication that the Schools in Northampton County will close use of their buildings by Thanksgiving at the latest.
• The Council was concerned that we would be closed for a two week period after the Thanksgiving holiday
The Congregation Council has agreed to meet on a weekly basis to monitor the situation and will move to open the church building as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. To that end the building closure is in effect thru and including December 6th for Worship and Scheduled Eucharist and thru and including December 10th for the Nursery School. Again, the Council will meet and evaluate these closures on a weekly basis. Please stay tuned for further updates.
Of course, we will continue to offer Zoom Worship at 8:30 We decided against moving the time for Zoom worship as we did not want to interfere with Faith Builders, and we are hoping that this is not a prolonged closure. All of our other meetings will continue to meet with Zoom. We understand that Zoom is not the perfect answer, but we are grateful that we have Zoom to maintain some connection with each other. We will also continue to mail and e-mail the bulletins and other information to you on a weekly basis.

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